Occhilupo wipes out
NEWCOMER Bobby Martinez caused the biggest shock in the Quiksilver Pro World Championship Tour yesterday by eliminating Australia's own "Raging Bull", Mark Occhilupo.
With gale force winds and a 2-metre swell forcing the organisers to relocate the competition 300 metres north to the protected nook of Rainbow Bay, American Martinez was still able to post the event's single highest wave score, an incredible 9.93 out of a possible perfect 10.
Although Occhilupo was at his home break, it didn't help him and the battle of the goofy-foots was entirely in Martinez's favour.
While the 1999 world champion was bitterly disappointed with what may be his last professional appearance on the Gold Coast, the triumph was a clear boon for the 23-year-old Californian.
In the last four years, Occhilupo has finished in the top five places at the Quiksilver Pro event.
"I was really nervous but I had to tell myself that if I let that nervousness come through I'm going to lose because I'm with Occy and he's a world champion, he's a legend, so I tried to forget about it and just surf. I think I just got lucky," Martinez said.
Coolangatta's Dean Morrison kept his hopes of a second victory in the event alive when he accounted for Brazilian Yuri Sodre.
Morrison, the 2003 champion, led the way for the local contingent in the tricky conditions with Bede Durbidge going down to Brazilian Marcelo Nunes, Jay Thompson ousted by fellow Australian Nathan Hedge while Hawaiian star and world No.9 Bruce Irons defeated local wildcard Luke Munro.
A severe weather warning is in place for south east Queensland today and an official decision will be made this morning about the days' competition.